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Reservations Recommended

Restaurant Review ~ Peruvian Brothers / food trucks

Noonday meals have transformed the Washington scene, thanks to the bustling food truck business on numerous city streets. Perhaps restaurant owners lament this incursion on their turf, but judging by the lines at foodie favorites, DCers are celebrating.

So which truck, which cuisine to choose? Do yourself a favor and track down one or the other of the two Peruvian Brothers trucks. You may need to walk a block or two, or maybe even across the Mall, but what awaits is worth every step. As noted at a recent lunchtime, the brothers’ truck that particular day at 20th and L Streets, NW served numerous business types who were yielding to their inner hungry kid. (For schedule of daily rotating locations see listing at the end of this review.)

Surprisingly for such a tiny, in-truck kitchen, the menu is rather extensive, from a delightfully chili-spiced pork loin sandwich (butifara) — meat slices layered between a fresh, slightly squishy bun with lettuce and red onions — to a Peruvian empanada: your choice, beef, chicken, or cheese with spinach.

Like the butifara, the beef empanada appeals: a delicate, buttery turnover wrap around a ground meat, raisin, sliced olive filling. What the novice should know ahead that these super-charged snacks can form a full lunch with an order of two or more. And be sure to ask for the hot sauce, a tiny container of fiery, yummy liquid chili that you can drizzle over empanada or sandwich.

Like their brick and mortar counterparts, this food truck does offer several Peruvian sides, including what is termed Peruvian “wild rice,” which does not contain the more familiar long-grained black rice, but is a mix of seasoned white rice (the menu reads “crispy angel-hair pasta”) with walnuts and bacon. Other sides include a quinoa salad (quinoa, of course, is native to Peru), mixed greens, or made-from-scratch Peruvian mashed potatoes (potatoes are also Peruvian natives). Choices, choices, and the best bet is one of each. Take home the extras for dinner, of course.

The brothers do offer desserts, including two different ice creams, probably not practical if your office is three blocks away and your pork sandwich awaits. You can also indulge in Peru’s famed alfajor, a delicate, powdery cookie sandwich filled with a generous smear of dulce de leche. Their version is so delectable that ordering two makes sense. To that add on their Peruvian rice pudding, which probably is worth every extra calorie.

Fortunately, the brothers’ business seems to be profiting and expanding, and with any luck folks in the Northern Virginia and possibly Maryland suburbs will be able to fill their lunchtime cravings with a Peruvian meal. And for sports enthusiasts, it turns out that one of the brothers competed with the U.S. rowing team in both the 2008 and the 2012 Olympics. Food plus sports equal awesome!

Peruvian Brothers. Prices: $10 for combos, $8 for sandwiches, $4 for sides. www.peruvianbrothers.com; for more info, on Twitter @PeruBrothers or https://www.facebook.com/PeruvianBrothers.

 

 

 

 

 

Alexandra Greeley is a food writer, editor, and restaurant reviewer. She has authored books on Asian and Mexican cuisines published by Simon & Schuster, Doubleday, and Macmillan. Other credits include restaurant reviews and food articles for national and regional publications, as well as former editor of the Vegetarian Times and former food editor/writer for the South China Morning Post in Hong Kong. Click here to visit her website.